Boise is the capital and most populated city of Idaho. It is the county seat of Ada County and the principal city of the Boise metropolitan area. It is the largest city between Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon and thus serves as the primary government, economic, cultural, and transportation center for the area.
Some credit a story told of Captain B.L.E. Bonneville of the US Army as the source of the name. After trekking for weeks through dry and rough terrain, his exploration party reached an overlook with a view of the Boise River Valley. The place where they stood is called Bonneville Point, and is located on the Oregon Trail east of the city. According to the story, a French-speaking guide, overwhelmed by the sight of the verdant river, yelled "Les Bois! Les Bois!" giving the area the name. But the name "Boise" may actually derive from earlier mountain man usage, which contributed their naming of the river that flows through it.
In the 1820s, French Canadian fur trappers set trap lines in the vicinity where Boise now lies. In a high desert area, the tree-lined valleyof the Boise River became a prominent landmark.
The original Fort Boise was 40 miles (64 km) west, down the Boise River, near the confluence with the Snake River at the Oregon border. This fort was erected by the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1830s. It was abandoned in the 1850s, but massacres along the Oregon Trail prompted the U.S. Army to re-establish a fort in the area in 1863, during the U.S. Civil War.
The new location was selected because it was near the intersection of the Oregon Trail and a major road connecting the Boise Basin (Idaho City) and the Owyhee mining areas. Both areas were booming at the time. Idaho City was the largest city in the area, and as a staging area to Idaho City, Fort Boise grew rapidly.
Boise was incorporated as a city in 1864. The first capital of the Idaho Territory was Lewiston, but Boise replaced it in 1865.
A number of recreational opportunities are available in Boise, including extensive hiking and biking in the foothills to the immediate north of downtown. An extensive urban trail system called the Boise River Greenbelt runs along the river. The Boise River itself is a common destination for fishing, swimming and rafting.
In Julia Davis Park, is Zoo Boise, which has over 200 animals representing over 80 species from around the world. An Africa exhibit expected to include lions and giraffes is currently under construction, slated to open in late